USDA FS Postgraduate Research Opportunity in Agroforestry

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Lincoln, Nebraska

Job Type Paid Internship
Salary Details The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.
Deadline Jul 19, 2024

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

USDA Forest Service Office/Lab and Location: A fellowship opportunity is available with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (FS) within the Forest Service Washington Office (WO), National Agroforestry Center (NAC), located in Lincoln, Nebraska. The candidate has the option to participate at NAC’s headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the Forest Service Headquarters in Washington, DC, or remotely.

At the heart of the USDA Forest Service's mission is their purpose. Everything they do is intended to help sustain forests and grasslands for present and future generations. Why? Because their stewardship work supports nature in sustaining life. This is the purpose that drives the agency’s mission and motivates their work across the agency. It’s been there from the agency’s very beginning, and it still drives them. To advance the mission and serve their purpose, the USDA Forest Service balances the short and long-term needs of people and nature by: working in collaboration with communities and our partners; providing access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality; connecting people to the land and one another; and delivering world-class science, technology and land management.

The mission of the National Agroforestry Center is to advance the health, diversity, and productivity of working lands, waters, and communities through agroforestry. The Center accelerates the adoption of agroforestry by leading, catalyzing, coordinating, and conducting research and science-based outreach. It is the only U.S. Department of Agriculture unit dedicated to agroforestry and is uniquely poised to provide U.S. leadership in agroforestry research and application. The National Agroforestry Center is part of Forest Service's Washington, DC Office of Research and Development.

Research Project: Agroforestry practices are a key component to scale up and optimize climate-smart agriculture and forestry. However, availability of plant materials is constraining agroforestry’s potential. The selected participant will collaborate with National Agroforestry Center staff to identify and facilitate connections between agroforesters, nurseries, and technical service providers to better coordinate plant supply and demand as the expected demand for agroforestry scales up. They will also participate in identifying research gaps in propagation methods and other plant material bottlenecks, identify key players involved, and identify the critical levers needed to address these issues. The participant will collaborate closely with the Forest Service Revegetation, Nurseries and Genetics Resources Team and develop technical assistance materials to support plant materials section and supply for agroforestry.  The participant may also be asked to participate with other projects underway at the National Agroforestry Center.

Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will be given the opportunity to (1) continue their professional development through immersion in reforestation and agroforestry research and learning technical assistance, (2) gain an understanding of complex plant materials supply chains and (3) pursue research related to the intersection of agriculture, forestry, reforestation, and plant materials.

Learning Objectives

  • Enhance collaborative skills by being a member of an interdisciplinary team investigating reforestation opportunities and bottlenecks associated with agroforestry.
  • Understand and facilitate interactions at the intersection between science and land management.
  • Enhance communication skills and experience by sharing information developed with management, professional, and scientific communities via presentations and publishing findings in journals and reports. Also includes drafting communication materials, such as website content, information sheets, briefing materials, and newsletters.
  • Strengthen techniques used for data collection and analysis. This includes conducting scientific syntheses, data mining, and conducting interviews with key partners.

There will be opportunities for professional development including skill training and travel. The Fellow will have the opportunity to interact with scientists in USDA Forest Service and other land management agencies and entities.

Mentor: The mentor for this opportunity is Anne Marsh (anne.marsh@usda.gov). If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: September 2024.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year but may be extended upon recommendation of USDA Forest Service and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of Participation: The appointment is full time.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. 

Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.

ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USDA Forest Service. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USDA Forest Service, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email  ORISE.USFS.WO@orau.org and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should have received a master's in a relevant field (e.g., Forestry, Natural Resource Science/Management, Ecology, Ecosystem Science, Environmental Conservation/Science, Horticulture, Agroforestry, Earth Sciences, Science Policy, etc.). Degree must have been received within the past five years, or be pursuing.

Preferred skills:

  • Experience with agroforestry systems, whether applied, research, technical assistance, etc.
  • Ability to effectively communicate and collaborate with diverse stakeholders
  • Experience presenting on natural resource topics
  • Quantitative skills with experience analyzing complex datasets, interpreting output and generating clearly understandable tables and graphics that convey accurate and compelling interpretations
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Organizational skills and the ability to prioritize activities to meet project schedules
  • Evidence of scientific and technical writing skills
  • Experience in sharing technical natural resource information with decision-makers and researchers through print and presentations

The application must be completed through Zintellect. https://www.zintellect.com/Opportunity/Details/USDA-FS-WO-2024-0236 

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Ecology, Forestry
Tags Climate Change